Democracy’s prospects: Looking beyond Islam

A close examination of countries that have successfully replaced autocracy with democracy will reveal what Egypt needs to go down the same path. It will also steer the focus away from the concept that religion is a determining factor in the equation.

By
February 22, 2011 17:33
4 minute read.
Sixth day of Egyptian protests.

egypt protests gallery6_521. (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)

 
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No strategic consideration is of greater importance to Israel than whether post-revolutionary Egypt will follow the path of post-revolutionary Iran. Should the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak be replaced by an extremist Islamic one, Israel will face a two-pronged threat: one from its southern border and the other from Egypt’s nuclear program - one of the regions most advanced.

However, in order to weigh the prospects of whether Egypt is fated for democracy or theocracy, the discussion must transcend the present hegemonic focus on whether Islam is somehow a barrier to democracy. Examining other countries’ transitions unearths recurring conditions necessary to establishing democracy following the overthrow of dictatorship.

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